Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Westport Housing Authority Gets Grant for Hales Court
First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff announced today that the Westport Housing Authority has received approval from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority for a project tax credit reservation of $1,703,063 for the proposed demolition and new construction of the Hales Court housing project.
It is anticipated that the tax credit reservation will generate $14,135,415 of equity to build 78 new housing units at Hales Court, doubling its current size, he said.
The new Hales Court will consist of one-, two-, and three-bedroom units serving families at or below 60 percent of area median income ($70,680) for a family of four.
Twenty-five percent of the total units will be reserved for senior citizens (62 and older). The project will also include a 2,000-square foot community center, the first selectman said.
The total project development costs are anticipated to be $24 million, Joseloff said.
“The Hales Court housing project will help provide additional desperately needed moderate income housing in Westport,” said Joseloff.
“The town is appreciative of the efforts and dedication of the Westport Housing Authority to increase our community’s available affordable stock.”
Built in 1950, Hales Court consists of 40 ranch-style detached homes. Thirty are two-bedroom homes and 10 are three-bedroom homes.
Comments: Comment Policy
Great news, now take it one step further, let us look to hire a Hale’s residents) to monitor the center, patrol the area to offer gainful employment to support their income. When I was growing up in the 60’s the area was addressed as Hell’s Court by a fellow classmate, Bill Simpson, in an award winning essay. Lets try to promote pride and ownership in this new version of Hales Court.
Great!!. About time that Hales moved forward. So with this mix of affordable and senior housing, it would seem that the Baron’s project is not a necessity.
Does Westport really need 200 more units of housing (Barons + Hales), in addition to the 54 in Saugatuck Center, the 20 on Sunrise and the other projects floating around waiting to be filed?
Thankfully, the 1960’s have been long gone on Hales Court for many years now. I don’t think the Guardian Angles need to come by any time soon. Just because the outside of a house looks good doesn’t always mean its pretty on the inside.
I hope your are right. But!! Why is there is such a push to build? Who is behind it? I don’t think it is the residents.
Did you see the other WPNow post where Elliot Landon predicts increased growth due to our schools being so good?
We have a Stamford planner, working for whoever, named Rick Redniss, coming up with a 100 ways from Sunday for us to build, densify and change our character. He has no less than 3 zoning regulation text changes in the pipe right now. He created your fave Bradley Commons and there will be more. I know you know him, but does everyone else know our regulations are being picked apart and changed to suit densification and increased multi-family housing.
Much of this change is under the guise of “work-force housing.” A made up term to make us think the housing is doing some good. Lets be real, if the housing is not for Westport’s workforce, our employees, then it is nothing more than new housing.
Westport has people just getting by in this high priced, over taxed, community. We need to make sure they can stay here as well.
Rick Redniss was a member of the so-called “Blue Ribbon” commission that brought Connecticut changes in 2000 to the infamous 8-30g legislation. The changes that Rick and others on this commission brought to this legislation made it more difficult (read impossible) for town’s like Westport to achieve the 10% Affordable Housing number in the legislation. Which makes his effort’s to bring “work-force” housing to Westport, which does NOT contribute to the town’s effort’s to achieve the 10% Affordable Housing number somewhat ironic.
Congratulations to Westport and the Westport Housing Authority for being approved for tax credits to finally make the revitalization of Hales Court a reality. This was a highly competitive statewide process, and Westport’s prior efforts to rewrite the Zoning Regulations and rezone the property to MHZ helped achieve a high score. Plans are underway and meetings with the neighbors have started to be reconvened after many years of delay and uncertainty. Working closely with adjacent residents continues to be an important part of this cooperative process.
Due to the changes made to the 8-30g legislation, proactive towns like Westport can now achieve a moratorium against “hostile” applications. The last Blue Ribbon Commission, knowing that towns like Westport will practically never reach the 10% requirement, recommended changes to give “points for trying”. The points accumulate and earn relief from the “burden of proof” responsibility that 8-30g places on those municipalities that do not provide a “fair share” of affordable housing. Subject to appropriate verification by the State, I believe the planned Hales Court will generate 90 moratoria points. This, together with other affordable housing in the pipeline, should be enough points to achieve a moratorium, which helps protect every neighborhood in Westport from inappropriate development. A completely new Hales Court also has all the other added benefits of meeting Westport’s need for diverse and affordable housing opportunities as stated in this new Town Plan of Conservation and Development.
The Hales Court homes need to be improved. These homes are not handicapped accessible; they have little or no insulation (to the point that heating bills exceed the monthly rent), inefficient window AC units, non-code-compliant life safety features, etc. I understand that Hales Court residents are so excited about the transformation that some have volunteered to move twice if it helps accelerate the process. The new plan protects the central village green, and the proposed small community building helps serve the residents and establishes a high level of attention to all the details necessary to keep up a very special neighborhood. Having space for property management and support staff right on the site is a great addition. Whether it is helping fill out a job application, a referral to other local services providers, using the computer learning center, mini library, small fitness room, or catching up with WHA board members at a monthly meeting, the atmosphere will be significantly enhanced.
Westport will be very proud of the results.
I understand that the residents are not too excited about being allowed parking for 1.5 cars but are so intimidated by repercussions that they are unwilling to come forward and ask for current planning and zoning regulations to be met. However, tonight 11-Dec, at the P & Z meeting you are seeking concessions such as reduced parking, office space and reduced storm drainage (proposed plans do not meet current guidelines). Hales Court should be improved, that’s true, but guidelines are in place to protect everyone and should not be bent to meet WHA plans rather the WHA should make a plan that conforms with zoning regulations. I am a neighbor and live in this area and for years nothing the neighbors did could stop this onslaught of increasing the number of units to 78 from 40. Perhaps 60 would be a nice concession but NO concessions will be made and as day turns to night I am sure we will see the P & Z grant the concessions after the meeting tonight.
I know this article is old, but does anyone know about the possiblilty of the State using Hales Court as a rehabilitation for recently released inmates from CT prisons? I have heard alot of talk about that but cannot verify.
Note: WestportNow Publisher Gordon F. Joseloff is also First Selectman of Westport